The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan
Vol. 11, Psychology
5. Suggestion by Word and Voice
Vol. 11, Psychology
5. Suggestion by Word and Voice
The tone of a spoken word, the music of a phrase, often suggest a meaning which is quite different from what these words and phrases really mean. Simple words such as yes and no convey different meanings with different tones; the music of a phrase may convey either a sincere thought or a sarcasm. Not everyone can explain very well what tone it is that makes the meaning different, or what music it is that changes the sense of a phrase; but automatically one may say an ordinary word or a phrase in a tone which one normally uses to express deep feeling. When this happens many plead that it is not their fault if they have been misunderstood, and that they cannot be blamed for having only said a few simple words--and indeed, if the same words had been said in another tone they would have been simple.
When we go deeper into this subject we find that every vowel is suggestive of a certain feeling, and that therefore names and words have a certain effect upon the speaker and the listener apart from their meaning. For instance it is interesting to gather from the sound of the word why the flower should have been called flower and why the stone should have been called stone. We feel from the sound of stone that it is hard, solid; and we feel from the word flavor that it is soft and beautiful. Those who speak without any knowledge of tone and music, those who have no intuition of how to express their thoughts and feelings in a proper tone, lose a great deal in life; for it takes away much of the sense which they wish to express in their speech, and often it even suggests something quite different from what they had meant. We very often hear people say, "I told him over and over again, but he would not listen," but this may be because they were ignorant of the tone and music of speech. There is a psychological reason why he would not listen: perhaps the tone was not right or the music might not have been correct.
Voice has great mystery. The voice of the individual is suggestive of something, not only of his thought, feeling, and but of his grade of evolution, of his past, present, and future. If ten people say the same thing, we will find each of them suggesting a different sense, a sense which goes further than the words themselves. While the word reaches as far as the ears, feeling reaches further into the heart. It is the voice that carries a sense, a feeling, and it expresses so much that the more one studies it the more one finds that voice has a very great significance. When a person says, "I spoke, but nobody heard me," he does not usually know that it was because of his voice that he was not heard. It was not what he said, but what his voice conveyed. Not everyone will notice it, but everyone will feel it automatically. Kind, wise, foolish, weak, or powerful personalities will all show their character in their voice. It would not be an exaggeration to say that sometimes a person's voice expresses quite a different meaning from what he says in words.
When we trace the secret of language in history we find that many languages known to us today have come from just a very few ancient languages. But if we go further than history takes us we shall find that all languages have come from one language, a language that the human race knew in its cradle, a language that man learnt from intuition. The names he gave to everything were derived from what each thing suggested; he called things according to what he intuitively felt on seeing and feeling them. That is why the nearer we get to the ancient languages, the more we find the secret of psychological suggestion; for every word of the ancient languages has a psychological value, and is suggestive of its sense in such a profound way that it is as if the word had come as a reaction to what the actual thing had suggested to a person. Our minds, corrupted by the new languages, which have themselves been corrupted by mixture, cannot conceive or fully appreciate that feeling which one finds in an ancient language, and which is suggestive not only of the meaning of the word, but of the nature and character and mystery of what it is identified with.
It is on this principle that Mantra Yoga was founded. Words which sprang from the intuition of the Yogis and thinkers, words which conveyed the meaning in a most profound manner, such words were collected for the use of the adepts, who repeated them and who profited by repeating them. Mantra Yoga means a science of words, words which were sacred and helpful in one's spiritual evolution. The Yogis have worked on this principle for many thousands of years, and have discovered a great mystery in the power of words. Sufis of all ages have followed this principle of making use of words which are suggestive of a certain sense, a sense which one wishes to bring out and make a reality in one's life. No doubt it is necessary to know the meaning of the sacred words one repeats; this gives a thousandfold greater effect. And the spoken word has a greater power than silent concentration, provided there is power of concentration and sincere feeling at the back of that word.
The suggestion of sacred words first impresses one's own spirit, helping one to develop that quality, that virtue, that merit, that power of inspiration which the words suggest. And the mechanism of one's inner being is such that every word that one repeats so many times becomes each time more living, and then this mechanism goes on repeating the same word automatically. Thus if a person has repeated a sacred word for fifteen minutes, throughout the day and night this word goes on, as the spirit repeats it continually.
Another effect of this repetition is that the word is reflected upon the universal Spirit, and the universal mechanism then begins to repeat it automatically. In other words, what man repeats, God then begins to repeat, until it is materialized and has become a reality on all planes of existence.
There are also dangerous words. There are actually so many dangerous words that one cannot warn people against them. In order to avoid words of bad effect there is a very amusing custom in India among certain people. Instead of saying, "When you were ill I came to see you," they will say, "When your enemies were ill I came to see you.'
The mystics of all ages have attached great importance to the mystery of the word, and every adept who has persevered in the path of Mantra Yoga has always arrived at the desired issue. No doubt perseverance, patience, and faith, all three, are required in accomplishing a mystical work by the power of repetition.